Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Dad’s Army

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Cameron, if you think Old England’s won? Forget about the 1% - they will always survive - it’s the miserly 2% you’re grudgingly putting into defence of the realm that’s bothering me. There were only two whole calendar years during the entire twentieth century in which British forces were not engaged in military action somewhere in the world. Without us Europe would have fallen under Teutonic rule, but we were there to dig out for our allies. Twice. Fat lot of thanks we appear to have received in return.

Today, with multiple threats from many sources, we are running our armed forces into the ground and the government is refusing to commit to spending NATO’s agreed 2% of GDP after this year, claiming instead that they will 'adequately' fund our defences after the upcoming strategic review. When it comes to spending ‘review’ never means an increase, it only ever means cuts. And cuts can only be accommodated by the stretch of existing resources for so long; our armed forces have been stretched decade after decade, to the point where loyal senior military commanders are publicly briefing their fears.

The USA are concerned that we are withdrawing from our traditional seat at the top table of world powers and by running down our forces we will soon reach a position where, unable to project power into remote theatres it will be even easier to justify scaling back to just a coastguard and a few Dad’s Army platoons. The EU is determined to progressively dismantle national forces with sovereign allegiances in favour of a centrally ordered European army and our own pro-EU gobsticks are using this circular argument as a reason to stay in the EU in order to still wield global influence. Does anybody else think this is horse shit?

Britain has traditionally punched well above her weight and has been renowned as having some of the best fighting forces the world has ever seen. Run it down and you lose that knowledge, that tradition and the pride that makes it all possible. Reduce manpower and you inevitably let things slide; those skills take a generation or more to rebuild, so if we are not handing them down, intake to intake, it is inevitable that very quickly we lose the ability to recruit and train our own successfully. They already did it in the NHS and Education; how soon before we look like the sort of slovenly, ill-disciplined buffoons toting ancient weaponry that we used to snigger at on arriving in foreign airports?

Dinnae say I didnae warn ye!
Don't tell him, Pike!

Ever seen two blokes arguing in a pub? The posturing, the chest bumping, the shoving? It’s our equivalent of long, colourful tail feathers or a bright red inflatable neck goitre and it’s about measuring up, bluffing it out and avoiding getting hurt. Both sides huff and puff but nobody throws a punch; both sides get to retreat unmarked and pretend to their own supporters that they won, really. That is the truth behind Cameron’s faux ‘renegotiation’, making insignificant concessions look like big wins. The alternative is out in the car park, sleeves rolled up and ready to slug it out, prepared to take a few bruises. But you need real balls to do that. And the knowledge that you can look after yourself. Soon that will no longer be a possibility.

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